July 15, 2024
Colorado Rancher Dies, Along w/ 34 Head of Cattle, in Lightning Strike

Colorado Rancher Dies, Along w/ 34 Head of Cattle, in Lightning Strike

(Headline USA) A lightning strike killed a Colorado rancher and 34 head of cattle over the weekend, officials said Sunday.

Mike Morgan, 51, was feeding his cattle from a trailer when he was struck and died on the scene despite life-saving efforts, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said.

The lightning bolt struck on wide open pasture outside the town of Rand, about 80 miles northwest of Denver, said George Crocket, the county coroner.

The strike also bowled over around 100 head of cattle that had bunched around the trailer loaded with hay, said Crocket. “All but the 34 got up,” he said.

Morgan’s father-in-law and wife, Niki, were nearby but survived the blast, said Crocket.

The incident stunned the small, tight-knit community where most everybody knows everybody, Crockett said.

Family friend Jim Sandberg, who grew up with Morgan, shared his reaction and fond recollections in a CBS News article.

“Mike is a die-hard cowboy; he is cowboy through and through,” said Morgan

But despite the tough exterior, there was a warm, compassionate and fun-loving person to those who knew him.

“Just had a grin from ear to ear and a laugh that was irresistible,” Sandberg said. “Just a fun guy.”

Morgan’s wife of nearly 27 years, Niki, referred to him as her “best friend” in a March 13 Facebook post celebrating his 51st birthday. “I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else,” she wrote.

The couple’s 17-year-old daughter, Dallas, also was close with her father, as revealed in photographs of the two riding out together on the ranch and sharing in many warm moments.

“They’ve been a great pair, of course, to be together since high school and have their daughter and everything,” Sandberg noted. “Amazing people, you’re never gonna find better people.”

Community members quickly gathered after the tragic accident to assist in burying the dead cattle, he said.

“Everybody that’s up there, they watch out for each other,” he said.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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